May has been a French review month! I read most of the Aurora / Boréal Award nominees and it has been a great opportunity to discover some great Quebecois authors! Now, the English Aurora Award has published its shortlist, but I have much more time to read and review these novels.
Books I reviewed this month
– Les îles du ciel by Daniel Sernine (3.5/5): an exploration novel which will remind you of Jules Verne adventures.
– Hôtel Olympia by Élisabeth Vonarburg (4.5): an incredible fantastic novel with some amazing world building. My favourite read this month.
– Anita (Cobayes #1) by Marilou Addison (4/5): a horror novel in which the main character slowly eats his soul away.
– Jardin de Chair by Frédéric Raymond (3/5): a gory horror novel depicting a character conflicted between her need for human flesh and her moral.
Other read this month
Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
Dying Inside is a good “what if?” book. What if you were born with the exceptional ability to read minds? What if your personality was built all around this ability? And what if, all of a sudden, you were losing this ability?
Dying Inside is one of those book that focuses on the mind of one character, Selig, a bit like the excellent Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. It’s fascinating and thought-provoking to read about how mind-reading has improved or impaired his social skills and shapes his life. Robert Silverberg also introduces another mind-reader in the story, who allows the reader, by comparison, to wonder if Selig was really messed up because of his special skill, or if he simply was depressive his whole life (because yes, he’s a rather unambitious and whiny character). In some way, Dying Inside asks the question: could a “superpower” be a curse on your life?
Dying Inside is an interesting reflection and is superbly written, but I’m not sure it aged very well. I had difficulty to connect to Selig and feel for him. The world he lives in seemed closed and remote. I really enjoyed Silverberg’s books before, but this one isn’t one of my favourites.
Fantasy and Science Fiction MMOC on Coursera
Starting next Monday, there’s a free eleven-week online course about Fantasy and Science Fiction on Coursera. I’m not blown away by the book selection, but I’m curious to watch the lessons since I’m sure there’s a lot to learn. We’ll see!